2018 Summer Motorcycle Rallies, Shows, & Events

Early in February, we shared with you the first half of our list of events, shows, and rallies that we most anticipated for the first half of the year. Well, suddenly it’s June, and we’re already piling up the miles in yet another exhilarating and enthralling summer riding season. This is the second half of a list that appeared in Issue #358 (which also includes a full feature on Karlee Cobb’s custom Scout, a full review of the brand-new 2018 Sport Glide, and Buzz’s recap of the Biketoberfest Sons of Speed—all of which is available at Greaserag.com), and we’ve decided to share the list here just because we kinda like you people.

Born Free Motorcycle Show, Silverado, CO, June 23-24, 2018

Similar to The ONE Moto Show, this little shindig started by Mike Davis and Grant Peterson 10 years ago has grown to epic proportions. Born Free Ten is sure to blow up Instagram this anniversary year as the show has evolved into one of the hippest events of the SoCal bike scene. The caliber of work in the show is always over-the-top, and the invited builders list is 30 strong this year, including Matt Olsen, Chase Stopnik, JP Rodman, Hawke Lashe, Duane Ballard, and a slew of other talented craftsmen. The bike giveaways at Born Free are always a popular attraction. Last year the list of giveaway bikes included a 1951 Panhead in mostly original state, an “All Killer, No Filler!” Knucklehead, and a brand-spanking-new Harley Low Rider S. This year the Hindes Brothers of Prism Supply Co. will be working their magic on a killer chopper. Born Free 10 will also see the second annual Stampede June 21, good old-fashioned dirt track races with vintage, tank shifter, chopper, and hooligan bike classes. If you’re a fan of custom motorcycles, Oak Canyon Ranch is the place to be come late June as Born Free Ten is going to be insane as gearheads gather to share in their passion and “love of old motorcycles.”

Fuel Cleveland, Cleveland, OH, July 28, 2018

Another show on the growing list of upstart bike shows, Fuel Cleveland just hosted its third annual gathering in the heart of Cleveland, and it’s safe to say this is going to be a mainstay. More than 4,000 people attended 2017’s festivities and more are expected for this year’s events. Fuel Cleveland is an invitational show featuring motorcycle builders, rare bikes, painters, and photographers. Last year, Lowbrow Customs, Gasbox, and Forever the Chaos Life bikes turned a gigantic warehouse on Cleveland’s East Side into a motorcycle heaven for one day. Don’t fret, as the presenters are careful not to gentrify the spectacle too much as it still retains the perfect urban, gritty setting for this Great Lakes-focused show. Oh, and guess what, it’s free!

Indian Larry Block Party, Brooklyn Invitational, Motorcycle Film Festival, Brooklyn, NY, Mid-Sept

Wrapping up the riding season with an all-out week of motorcycles and partying in Brooklyn seems to benefit the direction the industry is headed. The Indian Larry Block Party, celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, is the perfect bookend to what is quickly becoming a bit of a Brooklyn Bike Week in the middle of September. Anyone familiar with the Brooklyn bike scene knows what to expect: plenty of ratty Shovelhead, Ironhead, and Evo choppers rolling through the congested streets on the Williamsburg/Greenpoint border, with thunderous bellows of exhaust pipes ricocheting off the tightly packed apartment buildings and two-family houses. The Block Party is hosted right outside the Indian Larry HQ, and merely finding room to walk proves difficult with rows upon rows of custom bikes occupying the street. Paired with the block party is the Brooklyn Invitational, usually the weekend prior, in which the Root building on N. 14 Street hosts some of the world’s most talented builders and displays their work on in a bare white room, perfectly lighted for Instagram posts. The International Motorcycle Film Festival takes place the same week within the same pie slice of Brooklyn and “celebrates the world’s best dramatic, documentary, short, and experimental films created by the international motorcycling community,” rounding out the perfect trifecta of must-see motorcycle events going down in the borough come September.

David Mann Chopperfest, Ventura, CA, December 9

David Mann captured the essence of the biker lifestyle with his paintbrush like few others. Though we lost the talented artist in September 2004, his legacy lives on, thanks to the annual celebration known as David Mann Chopperfest. The one-day event takes place in beautiful Ventura, California, about a 70-mile ride up the 101 from Los Angeles. In true David Mann fashion, it’s a grassroots event with a bike show centerstage flanked by a showcase of featured builders. Small treasures can be found if you root around long enough at the accompanying swap meet. Music, vendors, and roller derby girls add to the spectacle. Even though it takes place in December it’s still usually sunny enough in SoCal that plenty of people make a day of it and ride to the show. The beach is also just a stone’s throw away, so you can double down with a little beach time, too. Show founders state: “Chopperfest is forever dedicated to the design, function and art of the motorcycle through those talented enough to create and those creative enough to appreciate talent.” Like The Quail and Born Free, it’s an anniversary year for Chopperfest which is celebrating its 15th, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see a record turnout in 2018.